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Essay on the Individuality of a Person

8 pages
1941 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
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Identity is the concept of ones individuality incorporating their looks, personality, beliefs and personal affiliations. Combined, these serve to distinguish one person from another also pointing out each other uniqueness. Coupled with authenticity, authentic identity is the legitimacy or trueness of ones individuality. This gives an individual their sense of being and value as a person as opposed to any other person and within any society. Anglo-conformity is the requirement of an individual to conform or adapt to the various values, institutions (social and civil) and norms to be able to interact with the Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-American cultures and people who make up the American society. An authentic American as established by this definition is thus an individual who is in full conformity with the societal construct of what it is to be an American i.e., adaptation to the Anglo-conformity requirements and accepted and integrated into this society.

These concepts all serve to identify the individuality of a person but also their acceptability into this already established American society. About the Americanization process, these ideas determine where a persons, usually an immigrant individuality ends and the character and personality they require to become acknowledged to this society thus becoming homogeneous Americans. This is necessary to integrate these individuals in the American social, economic, and political structures and democratic processes. This act is what we refer to as Americanization. To some degree, the individual or group thus compromises part of their authentic identity to adopt the required American norms, values, and institutions, to be deemed a genuine American.

The depiction that the existence of whiteness and white privilege as unfounded would be utter ignorance of the forbearing situations in the nation. The same is real and exists as depicted by the foundation of belonging to the country. The American Melting Pot framework as has been used to define the diverseness of the society and integration of the same to create the Authentic American, is watered down by concepts such as Anglo-American and Anglo-Saxon conformity which will require one to abandon a number of their own cultural values to adopt the ideal Anglo-Saxon/American values so as to gain the sense of belonging. These selected values are predominantly white, which is evident in their structure. Thus, some element of whiteness was the requirement for acceptability to this society.

This resulted in an element of supremacy over other races being afforded to whites. White privilege thus occurs in this manner and the same is also explained through the reading on racial domination which explains that ordinary life is arranged so as to benefit predominantly the white group of persons. The same is also founded in the fact that the major decision on what is to constitute an American and the laws to guide such individual were predominantly made by whites. The historical injustices and stereotypes associated with minority races are all also evidence of some elements of white supremacy.

The dangers of Race, Racism and othering, which is simply the exclusion of an individual from their society due to nonconformity with the predominant nature or character of that society such as physical differences (skin) or language, to Americanization are quite extensive. Most importantly, the concepts all bring a situation whereby the value of a person is measured by their physical appearance and cultural ethnicity. Thus, as stated in the readings, human primacy is forgotten and humanity or the state of one being a person is taken second to their physical attributes, essentially color.

These concepts give some individuals or groups a sense of supremacy over others. It establishes a sort of racial ladder where at the top is whites or Caucasian people followed by Asians then Native Americans and lastly Africans. This is evidently based on the physical differences between these groups which grants certain groups a very misconstrued sense of value over other groups of humans. Coupled with these facts, the result is obviously the forgetting of the value of each human life and thus some humans are treated as second rate humans. This is why despite social awareness campaigns and affirmative action for these minority or second and third-rated humans, injustice and stereotypes against them are never quite resolved but instead are covered up or disguised.

Race without Racism Racism would not exist if we take away the concept of race. It is considered to be a by-product of race and racial profiling. To this extent, racism only appears due to Ethnocentrism. This is the valuation of other cultures based preconceptions from the values, norms and customs of one's own culture. The precursor to this valuation is physical differences. Which is the result of classifications due to ones skin at the most basic level.

However, if race were to be done away with, the remainder would be human primacy which would be the identification of all individuals as humans other than classification due to other features. Thus, the concept of the Human Race would finally be achieved.

Americanization as portrayed by the text Creating Race-Constructing White Privilege is dictated by one race over the others. In this sense we see that the whites are the ones who came up with the requirements for Americanization which are generally the Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-American conformation requirements. In this we see an element of Ethnocentrism whereby they deemed being American would be done by their standards thus conform to their culture, values and norms as opposed to the melting pot ideology that was sold to people. This serves to bring about a stain to Americanization whereby instead of being integrated into a diverse society of multi-ethnic nature, it was instead multiple diverse ethnicities and races being assimilated and molten down to be like an already existing group of people. Thus, the term Homogeneous American appears instead of being a plain proud American despite your differences. Also to this effect, it may thus be inferred that the question as to whether a particular individual or group or ethnic factions is American is seen to be decided by the majority of the Nation who are the whites. It is based off the individual or groups ability to adopt the nature of those dominant to a point of full conformity.

With regard to authenticity, Paulo Freire discusses that humanization is necessary for one to realize an authentic existence. This he explains, is an existence that is based on freedom. He explains that in the search for humanization (achievement of full recognition of each individuals humanity), an element of dehumanization occurs by the majority and this results in the dehumanized group becoming oppressed. This is as seen when racial classification results in one group becoming minorities as against the larger group of people of a similar ethnic or racial decent. The oppressed as he refers to them lose their identity. They thus as he explains, cannot exist authentically. Instead living by their own cultures, ethnicities and identities, they adopt the oppressors nature which thus creates an element of duality in their existence.

He explains that in order to achieve human primacy, which is the main goal of humanization, the oppressed is charged with the duty to free themselves. He explains that since the oppressor is already the one who brings about the imbalance and injustice, he cannot be the one charged with rectifying that situation. The minority/oppressed should be the ones to come forth and backed by their own individuality and unity claim their individuality and show their value as humans so as to have their fuller/authentic existence. By achieving this, they will rectify the dehumanization they have experienced and ensure recognition of their views and rights before the oppressors eyes. The resultant effect of this will be the upholding of human primacy which is the view of all individuals as humans other than profiles on race, ethnicity or social standing.

This view as he explains the relationship between the oppressed and the oppressor, is a perfect representation of the situation of racial dominance. It explains that in an ideal society, human primacy would be assured and each individual would have a full existence despite their difference, character or physical. The situation as he puts it is that the minority racial groups in America are oppressed and through violence or other social means, forced to conform to and adopt the majoritys view on society, their norms, culture and values, so as to have any form of existence. The result of this is an identity-less existence which is far from the concept of full humanity as he puts it. Without this, the minorities would be alienated and cast aside to suffer through such modern oppression tools as would have them resort to a less than human existence of crime or minimal wage.

With this in mind, he calls upon the minorities to stand up for themselves and bring about a rebellion which is to ensure their freedom is restored. He explains that though unity may be difficult for a people so broken, the same is necessary so that they may reunite in this cause to establish their worth. He states that the oppressor can only do so much as to support the oppressed as may be driven by the guilt and anguish he feels when he realizes that he is in fact the oppressor. This situation of the oppressed is seen in the uprising by black people to take over a significant amount of the American entertainment industry. Through such mediums, every day they strive towards a realization of their value and acceptance of their culture. In so doing, the oppressor feels the urge to support them as seen by whites going to the streets picking placards chanting for recognition of minority lives and rights. Such efforts will lead to human supremacy.

Social stratification is the division or classification of people due to any number of reasons that may make one group of individuals feel superior to another. This may be based on race, class or power. In essence, one group of people, due to some reason, but mostly due to some form of dehumanization, falls subject to the mercies of another which thus is ranked above them. About race, this occurs due to the historical onset of slavery and colonialism or imperialism. Whereby white supremacy erupted as European nations went around conquering other countries in the globe thus creating a feeling of dominance over the other races, which they then ranked based on their encounter and the oppressed peoples reaction to their dominance. The same historical injustice had shaped the social stratification until the early 19th century when efforts at global decolonization and fully human existence and coexistence with all races began.

This, as (Freire) explains is due to the actions of the oppressed at trying to liberate themselves. The same was received by some of the oppressors who went ahead and supported the oppressed and pushed for these global reforms. As reflected in the United States, land of the free, the same activities going on around the world affected the actions in the US. Their previous status defined the minority races as slaves or menial laborers, and these definitions which were due to historical injustices have stuck until now. (Freire) States that this humanization is required to settle this old score and the efforts should begin with the oppressed themselves. The minority groups should find a way to reclaim their worth and dignity as humans and escape the view that their oppressors impacted on them of being less.

The same applies to class and power which, to begin with, is predominantly held by the white in the US. The empirical evidence is everywhere in todays so...

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